As a culture and society, we tend to over-identify with our physical body. We have forgotten that we are a soul with a body, and instead see ourselves as a body with a soul. One would think this would cause us all to give our body the utmost attention, which we do, but not in the positive manner it requires. It is ironic to me that so many of us over-identify with our body, yet remain completely disconnected from it.
Our physical body is powerful, and it affects our decision making, emotions and choices, far more than we realize. It's sending us signals, good and bad, all the time. Many of us aren't listening though. Depression, anxiety, pain and even disease are all cries for help. We've been conditioned to believe the best solution is a pill that will quickly subside the symptoms and end the pain. What we are missing is what created it. We aren't pulling the roots, but just temporarily burying the problem. It's exactly like pulling only the part of the weed that is outside the ground, while leaving the roots behind. It will grow back.
So, what do we do? How do we once and for all escape the ailments that follow us? Is this just the way life is supposed to be? We expect as we age, that symptoms will arise. We will have to take a pile of pills to function, right? Wrong. It doesn't have to be that way. This is not how we were created to live. We can take control of our health and live life to it's fullest, without pharmaceuticals. It's not as easy as taking a pill, but it lasts longer. It starts with you. You have to be the person who takes charge of your own health.
I approach all mental and physical health conditions from a holistic perspective. You aren't just a body. You are also a mind. You are also a pile of emotions. You are also a soul. All of these areas need watered and tended to. They need balance, which is why I operate using a 4-wheeled system.
I like to compare our bodies to a car, which has four wheels. Each of those wheels needs the proper amount of air and tread. They all need to be aligned. This keeps the car operating at it's peak performance. If one tire is low on air, or another tire is too inflated, your gas mileage is affected. You can't drive your car if one tire is flat. Your body is no different.
To live to your fullest, you must start to become more attuned to your body and what it is trying to tell you. Pain is a signal. Just like Socrates said, "Know Thyself." This means you must know your mind, your spirit, your emotions, and your body. Understanding how to keep each of these areas balanced, and in alignment is essential to living your best life.
So, let's start with the area that most of us are over-identifying with, but ignoring - our body. How do we start to give it the attention it deserves? I could literally write a book on this subject, but I'll do my best to keep it simple and at least give you a healthy start. Below are the tools I have used and recommend. There are plenty more, and what works for me, may not be what works for you. We are all individual and need to create our own healthcare plan. Let's get started:
1. Diet and nutrition. This tool works for everyone. We wouldn't dream of putting bad gas into our cars, but yet we fuel our priceless bodies mostly with items that aren't even considered food. We are surrounded with convenience, preservatives, processed foods, sugar and fast food. We might as well just put sugar water into our gas tanks and expect our engine to crash. It will. It's only a matter of time.
2. Activity. Another universal tool. You know sitting is the new smoking, right? We are all chained to our desks, laptops, ipads and phones. We are growing more sedentary by the minute. We need to stand up more, walk more and get outside more. Being active should be a priority for everyone.
3. Exercise. Let's step up that activity level. Our heart needs some cardio. Our muscles need to lift heavy things. Did you know that exercise is the best anti-depressant out there? The only time I liked running was during my very intense divorce. It saved me from going crazy. That energy had to go somewhere, and it greatly improved my mental health also. I'm back to only running if a tiger chases me, but I have just converted to exercise I find more enjoyable. You have to find what works for you, and what you will keep doing.
4. Hydration - Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood. Another tool that we all need.
5. Genes/DNA - This tool isn't necessary, but helpful. Again, "Know Thyself." I had mine down for about $300 from The DNA Company. With a simple saliva sample, they send you about 250 pages full of pertinent information about how your physical body operates. I learned the best cardio, the best way to sleep, how to improve my personal immunity, my hormones and even how my brain operates best (and why I'm prone to anxiety and not crazy after all!) An investment you won't regret.
6. Sleep - We don't take sleep seriously enough. It's not a matter of being tired, or alert. Sleep is a downright lifesaver. It's that important. Sleep is needed so everything in your body and mind can work correctly. Without it, or the continuous lack of, you are flirting with a myriad of diseases that will cripple your physical and mental well-being.
7. Breathwork - Breathwork is broadly defined as any breathing techniques or exercises that claim to improve mental and physical health in significant ways. Breathwork practitioners claim that the various breathing practices they teach can improve concentration, boost mood, relieve pain, and open doors to profound insights about the self and the world.
8. Essential Oils - Essential oils can affect both the brain and body. When you inhale essential oils, it stimulates the olfactory system, which is the part of the brain connected to smell. Essential oil molecules that enter the nose or mouth pass to the lungs and eventually the brain and other parts of the body. As the molecules reach the brain, they affect several regions, including the limbic system, which is linked to the emotions, our memory and attentional systems, as well as our hormone and immune systems.
9. Yoga - Yoga offers physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages. And, if you’re going through an illness, recovering from surgery or living with a chronic condition, yoga can become an integral part of your treatment and potentially hasten healing.
10. Embodiment - Embodiment practices use the body as a tool for healing through self-awareness, mindfulness, connection, self-regulation, finding balance, and creating self-acceptance. Embodiment explores the relationship between our physical being and our energy. It involves the interaction of our body, thoughts, and actions.
11. EFT/Tapping - Tapping can help with emotional and physical issues such as weight-loss, fears of flying, spiders, enclosed spaces, anger and anxiety, phobias, blockages in career, social anxiety, and most anything and everything you care to mention. It's easy to learn, simple, free and requires only 5-10 minutes of your day.
12. Autogenic Training - Autogenic training is a self-induced relaxation technique intended to enhance mental and physical health. Autogenics uses the mind to guide the body through a series of statements designed to promote sensations of warmth and heaviness throughout the body. It can take a little while to learn, but, once mastered is a great method for overall well-being.
13. Acupressure - Acupressure is a powerful resource that not only improves the health of the body and emotions, but also the strength of the mind and spirit. Using Acupressure, you can improve mental clarity, stability, and concentration. You can also heighten intuition and spiritual awareness.
14. PEMF - PEMF works with your body’s natural recovery system. The core benefit you can expect to receive from PEMF machine use is improved cellular function & regeneration. The pulsed electromagnetic field helps to allow nutrients to properly flow into the cell & waste to be properly expelled from the cell. The cells can detoxify easier & stay nourished. This results in an overall boost in cellular health.
15. Vagus Nerve - Many of the symptoms experienced by people suffering from chronic illness, infections and toxic exposure stem from too much inflammation in the body. A well functioning Vagus nerve is important because it helps to regulate inflammation in the body and restores our ability to shift back into a healing state.
This list could go on and on. If you ask, I promise, the answers will reveal themselves. Maybe your answer lies in one of these tools, or maybe it isn't listed here. Just ask though, and it will come, but you must quiet yourself, be open and be ready to listen.
You are a unique physical body, with unique needs. Experimenting and exploring is necessary to find what works best for your individual circumstances. It starts and ends with you. It's time to take charge of your health and start living the best version of YOU!
For more insight on these tools, check out my podcast on this subject also!
Angela Miller is a "Wholistic" RN and a Human Potential Life Coach. She is passionately pursuing her purpose to help others remember who they are and how to become their best self using her 4-wheeled, balanced approach system.